Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Scientists Call for Research on Climate Link to Geological Hazards

Iceland volcano sparked French Revolution
I've blogged about this highly speculative, yet eye-opening area of research before -- most recently after the Haiti earthquake.

Now, interestingly, top scientists are calling for further research:
Richard Betts, a climate modeller at the Met Office Hadley Centre in Exeter, said: "This is a new area of academic research with potentially interesting implications. It was previously assumed there was no link at all between climate change and these events, but it is possible to speculate that climate change might make some more likely. If we do get large amounts of climate change in the long term then we might see some impacts."
He said there was no evidence that current levels of global warming were influencing events such as last week's earthquake in China that killed hundreds of people and the volcanic eruption in Iceland that grounded flights across Europe.
Experts say global warming could affect geological hazards such as earthquakes because of the way it can move large amounts of mass around on the Earth's surface. Melting glaciers and rising sea levels shift the distribution of huge amounts of water, which release and increase pressures through the ground.
These pressure changes could make ruptures and seismic shifts more likely. Research from Germany suggests that the Earth's crust can sometimes be so close to failure that tiny changes in surface pressure brought on my heavy rain can trigger quakes. Tropical storms, snowfall and shifting tides have all been linked to shifts in seismic activity.
Wow -- fascinating.  Certainly can't hurt to learn more about how these processes and triggers might work as the world warms...

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